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Minnesota To Crack Down On Illegal Sports Betting

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- On the opening day of the NFL football season, the State of Minnesota is stepping up enforcement of illegal sports gambling in the state.

The Minnesota State Department of Public Safety is calling illegal betting "risky and dangerous," and lacking any consumer protections.

"How do you know that what you are doing is fair?" asked Gambling Enforcement Special Agent Terry Kelley.  "How do you know that if you win, you're going to get paid? Who are the people you are dealing with during this? And what happens to you if you can't pay?"

For most Minnesotans, football betting is a social event, Kelley says. Online websites, like Draft Kings and FanDuel, are legal. So are fantasy football leagues.

And private bets with friends on the Vikings -- that's legal too.

It's the illegal betting -- tip boards or online offshore sports bets -- that are trouble.

"I was betting every single day," said Don Weinberger, once a casual sports bettor who got addicted and lost $100,000 and almost his life.

"The first thing we lost was a motorhome," he said. "The next thing was a car. We lost our home of over 15 years," he said.

Minnesota is at the epicenter of the new 2017 NFL season. It ends in Minneapolis at the 2018 Super Bowl, the biggest illegal betting day of the year. And state officials are already ramping up -- including undercover agents -- to slow it down.

"We understand that there are people that don't know," said Agent Kelley. "We understand that there are people who don't care."

Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement agents have consulted with agencies in both Houston and Phoenix to see how they tackled the issue of illegal gambling when the Super Bowl was hosted those cities previously.

You can find more information about what bets are legal and illegal in the state of Minnesota by clicking here.

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